GM's Yesterdays, Disney's Tomorrowland Collide in the Coolest Way

Disney's Tomorrowland gives us all a cinematic glance into a fantastical future. But GM is using the film's release as a way to not only publicize its upcoming models, but to hold a bit of a throw-back celebration of its amazing concept cars of the past.

Released to theaters nationwide on Thursday, Tomorrowland tells the story of a jaded scientist and an optimistic teen who together embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space. But look closely, and you'll get a few glimpses of a very real future. That's because the new 2016 Chevrolet Volt and EN-V concepts appear in the backgrounds in several scenes of the both the present day and Tomorrowland. It's part of the initial marketing efforts for the Volt that also include a television spot and digital advertising.

But also featured are five then-futuristic concept cars debuted by Chevrolet as early as 1959. As described by Chevrolet parent company, GM, the concepts featured are:

  • The Firebird III, which debuted at the 1959 Motorama. It was an extravagant prototype with a fiberglass exterior, seven short wings and tail fins. This vehicle, like both generations of the Volt, allowed drivers to pre-condition the interior temperature before entering the vehicle.
  • The Firebird IV was an experimental car created to highlight what could be possible on automatic highways, including the latest infotainment at the time – in-vehicle television. The vehicle was built for the 1964 World's Fair in New York, which plays a key part in the plot of Tomorrowland."
  • The Astro II. Aerodynamics, also key to the design of the Volt, heavily influenced the design of the Astro II prototype. The vehicle was revealed at the 1968 New York Auto Show and at the time had speculators wondering if it was the next generation of the Corvette.
  • The Astro III was a sleek, two-passenger experimental car in 1969 resembling an executive jet aircraft, even down to its low center of gravity tricycle-type wheel arrangement. The Chevrolet Volt's battery lowers the vehicle's center of gravity, enhancing stability and handling in inclement weather.
  • The Express - Chevrolet built the Express concept in 1987 as part of a project consulting with the federal government about building high-speed, limited access commuter roads open to specialized vehicles. The concept is described as "whisper-quiet" much like the Volt when operating in electric mode.

"Tomorrowland is a place where nothing is impossible, which is something that Chevrolet believes can exist in the here and now," said Tim Mahoney, vice president, Global Chevrolet. "The Chevrolet spirit reflects the hopes and possibilities of tomorrow in real instruments of change for today like the next-generation Chevrolet Volt."

So, E3 Spark Plugs fans, which of the GM retro concepts would you most like to drive? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.